Saturday, December 01, 2018

Hollywood Is a Sex-Grooming Gang

By Kyle Smith
November 30, 2018

Image result for moonves weinstein
Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves

If you’re tempted to turn away from the torrent of squalid news that continues to flow out of Hollywood, resist the temptation. The more of these revolting exposes you read, the more clearly you will see the underlying monstrosity in Hollywood, as clearly as the hero of John Carpenter’s They Live sees aliens disguised as everyday people when he puts on the sunglasses.

Former CBS chief Les Moonves’s career had already ended in disgrace for repeated instances of alleged sexual harassment and assault uncovered last summer by The New Yorker. Yet until this week the board that fired him for preying on women was planning to beg His Majesty’s forgiveness for decoupling him from his kingdom, pressing into his hands a $120 million payoff.
Maybe not anymore.
The New York Times, with the cooperation of a washed-up talent manager who, at 75, decided to open his mouth about Moonves, reported on how the triangular sex trade works in Hollywood. Innocent young sweet pea from some place like South Carolina hits town, desperate for a break. Managers and agents and such like human succubi latch on to her with an eye toward turning her out. Knowing very well what will happen, they send her in to “take a meeting,” alone, behind closed doors, with some old lech in a designer suit. After two minutes of pleasantries, the expensive pants are suddenly down around the ankles. The young thing has just about two seconds to grow up. She has to decide on the spot whether to react with the expected sangfroid, and advance to the next step in the game of Hollywood, or, do what Bobbie Phillips did and react adversely. She contemplated picking up a baseball bat and going all Al Capone on her attacker, but instead merely “ankled,” as the trades would put it.
Phillips says Les Moonves, then the head of Warner Bros. television just as its shows Friends and ER were becoming blockbusters, grabbed her and forced her to perform oral sex when she met with him to seek an appointment with a casting director. She fled the office. Then she had to decide whether to say something, which would brand her a “troublemaker.” If so, nothing good would happen. She’d be ushered out to pursue the career opportunities at Denny’s, and another young honey would take her place.
Image result for bobbie phillips actress
Bobbie Phillips in the first season of Murder One
Phillips’s life was pretty much ruined. Going to audition meetings made her queasy. Once she vomited in an alley at the prospect of running into Moonves. No one cared. She was another expendable female body. Twenty-three years later, Moonves was suddenly interested in casting her again. Texts between Moonves and Phillips’s manager, as reported by the Times, are frankly transactional: The manager needed to get back in the game, Moonves needed the manager to keep schtum with the Times reporters who kept calling him, Phillips would be expected to remain silent in exchange for a lousy $1,500 one-day gig. “A central teaching in my life is forgiveness,” Phillips told the Times. But this was insulting. And she was upset that Moonves was still denying, even in private, what she says he did. Moonves says “I strongly believe” the encounter was consensual. Which is a bit different from saying, “It was consensual.”
“Nobody knows anything” was the Hollywood mantra popularized by the late screenwriter William Goldman. Yet in a town that does nothing more assiduously than it does gossip, we’re expected to believe nobody knew anything about what was happening in Les Moonves’s office, and in Harvey Weinstein’s, and in Bryan Singer’s? It beggars belief. They knew. They all knew. The men knew. The women knew. The potted plants certainly knew. Nobody said anything. They didn’t want to jeopardize their next gig. “Nobody says anything” is more like it. It’s show-merta. “Hollywood mafia” isn’t a joke anymore: These acts alleged by so many actresses are crimes. This was a systematic criminal enterprise in which untold numbers of people either abetted felonies or did not report them, with money clawed away from publicly traded corporations repeatedly used to buy silence.
When you see a lot of movies and TV shows, you do a lot of wondering about what happened behind the scenes. Why did that actress get so many parts? Why did this one rise so quickly? Why did that one disappear? Wasn’t that nude scene gratuitous? Put on the magical sunglasses and you see the ugliness. Salma Hayek said Weinstein came to the set of her 2002 film Frida and threatened to shut it down unless she filmed an out-of-nowhere nude lesbian sex scene to put in the picture. Dewy young things are apparently told that this sort of thing is “the price of admission” by the male producer-director-agent nexus. Judging by her subsequent choices, I’m guessing the privately educated 21-year-old Reese Witherspoon wasn’t thrilled to be told to go nude for the 1998 film Twilight. She came to Los Angeles to act, not to strip. But, hey: price of admission. Now those images are out there, forever.
Ashley Judd was all set to play a big role in The Lord of the Rings. (The Liv Tyler part.) Then declined Weinstein’s invitation to explore what was under his bathrobe. He spoke to director Peter Jackson. He didn’t say, “She rejected my advances.” He told Jackson that Judd was a nightmare to work with, in maybe 1998. He did the same with Mira Sorvino. These actresses were red-hot. Sorvino had an Oscar at 28. She never got a lead role in a major movie after 1999. Judd continued to work but not in big-budget movies. She might have been a superstar. Annabella Sciorra, who alleged that Weinstein raped her when she was at her peak in the early 1990s, said she couldn’t get a role for three years after the encounter. (Weinstein has denied all charges of rape and sexual assault.) The producer simply moved on to the next young cutie. There are busloads of them arriving all the time. Agents and managers continued to send the girls to meet with him alone. Did they ever ask themselves if they were complicit in systematic criminal sexual abuse? Did it ever occur to them that even those actresses who played along with the sex game had been thrown into a lose-lose situation no one should ever have to face?
Hey, it’s show business, they must have thought. It’s not for prudes and hicks. Do you have some kind of sexual hangup? We’re all liberated here. Liberation being defined as “turning unsuspecting young girls over to known sexual predators.” Price of admission. . .

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Today's Tune: The Head and the Heart - Lost in My Mind

Democrats use tear gas image as sentimental weapon to avoid clearheaded immigration debate

By John Kass
November 28, 2018
Image result for caravan tear gas rocks

Central American migrants run along the Tijuana River near a border crossing after Border Patrol agents used tear gas on November 25, 2018.(
Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images)

If there is one thing worse than that photograph of a little Honduran boy breathing through an oxygen mask after being hit with tear gas on our Southern border, it’s this:
Using that image as a sentimental weapon to fend off or obliterate clearheaded immigration policy.
But that’s where we are now, aren’t we? The caravan of thousands of Central American migrants is finally at the border. Mexico is keeping them back. The other day, after rocks were thrown at American border officials, several hundred migrants bolted through, trying to illegally rush their way into America, and some were hit with tear gas.
One was the little boy in the photo, receiving medical care in Tijuana. Mexico has made arrests and is in the process of deporting about 100 of the migrants back to Central America.
And now, the left has no answers to what’s going on along the southern border. Instead, we’re given shrieks of rage at President Donald Trump. They conveniently forget that under President Barack Obama, migrants who tried crashing the border and threatening border officials were hit with chemical agents.
Some journalists conveniently forgot this, or perhaps didn’t even bother to look at what Obama had done. The American people who are concerned about their porous borders know this, which is one reason journalism is held in low regard.
The history of illegal immigration along the southern border has long been cynically bipartisan. Establishment Republicans didn’t mind if business was the beneficiary of cheap labor. Republicans talked about border enforcement but repeatedly caved to supply agricultural and other workers important to political donors.
Democrats were once opposed to unfettered immigration, when they were the party of the working class. But Democrats now mock the working class and win elections in the richest counties in America. They’ve long taken the African-American vote for granted, and black voters are finally becoming increasingly dissatisfied. Democrats know they need a new crop of future voters. And they know where they can be found.

Most Americans are offended by this bipartisan cynicism. Trump understood, tapped into it, and became president.
Now I can’t think of any responsible person who likes the idea of children suffering. I don’t think you like it either. Parents brought the little ones into that chaos on the border. I wouldn’t have done it, and perhaps you wouldn’t subject your children to that danger. Yet still, it tears at the heart to see it.
But the heart is not the mind. And as liberal pundits wring their hands about the tear gas and bleat about Trump’s stringent border enforcement, casually tossing words like “fascist” and “racist,” something else is happening.
Millions of Americans who do not consider themselves to be hateful — Republicans and Democrats — are asking simple questions:
Is there anything wrong with mandating that immigrants legally apply for asylum rather than break into the U.S. and fade into America? I happen to think that’s fair, and it’s legal.
Yet where are the liberal Democratic solutions to address those in the migrant caravans determined to push illegally across the borders?
Political asylum is reserved under law for those who are threatened or attacked because of who or what they are. Asylum doesn’t apply to the majority who’d like to come here for better paying jobs and social welfare benefits.
What we have in place of Democratic policy is a steady stream of wailing, anger and virtue signaling. If you want to know how extreme, how ridiculous it is becoming, consider that Democratic darling U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has compared the caravan to Jews fleeing the Holocaust.
Unlike what happened to the Jews in Europe, the Central American migrants are not being exterminated by their own government. In tweeting this nonsense, Ocasio-Cortez diminishes the horrors of the Holocaust, and proves herself to be, of course, a fool.
Remember that for several weeks leading up to the midterm elections, as the migrant caravan formed in Central America and made its way north, Trump, in his typically heavy-handed and overstated Trumpian fashion, kept loudly insisting that the caravan was a danger, replete with “criminals” and “Middle Easterners.”
Are there “Middle Easterners” among them? It sounds far-fetched. Are they all “criminals”? No. Some are thugs, but many want a better life.
Tony Hernandez, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, is allegedly something of a narco kingpin. He was just arrested the other day in Miami on cocaine and weapons charges.
But if living in fear because violent narco kingpins are nearby is grounds for asylum, people in a few Chicago neighborhoods I can think of should apply.
The Democratic response to the caravan as it trudged north was also cynical. Democratic politicians insist they’re not for open borders, but they don’t support strict border enforcement. Theirs is a let-them-in-and-sort-it-out-later approach. This is a de facto open borders policy.
And just weeks ago, those who dared suggest that a country should have secure borders were subject to media shaming. Caravan? What caravan? They’re just women and tiny children in strollers. How dare you say otherwise?
But that wasn’t true either, was it? You read the pundits, you heard the snickers over the radio, and saw the smirks on TV. Americans got the point: Shut up about securing your own borders or be shamed.
And that’s not sound policy, either, is it?
Listen to “The Chicago Way” podcast with John Kass and Jeff Carlin —

Our Childish Elite Shed Crocodile Tears for Khashoggi


November 28, 2018

Related image
Protesters outside the White House, 19 October.(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

In the playpen that has become our politics, feelings are everything. It doesn’t matter what the facts are, only the emotional effect those facts and their attendant consequences might have on the party holding the short end of the stick. Lose an election? Whine and sue. Don’t like the notion of a sovereign nation defending its borders from an attack using non-lethal means? Emotionalize and propagandize a picture of a mother and her children fleeing. Everything must have an emotional component, behind which lies the unspoken accusation: how would you like it if this happened to you?
Nor are international affairs spared this childishness. The gory murder of a non-American Muslim in the capital of a Muslim country by a group of Muslim assassins from another Muslim country has somehow been transformed into an American problem. Why should that be? The decedent in question occasionally wrote propaganda pieces disguised as journalism for a preening American newspaper in Washington, D.C., whose motto is “Democracy dies in darkness.” In fact, what died in the darkness of the Saudi embassy in Istanbul was Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national of whom no one in the Western world had heard until a month ago.
Cue the crocodile tears: the reflexively anti-Trump, crudely reductionist, historically ignorant American media immediately transformed a rather ordinary Arab bit of bloody business into the greatest crisis since the Perdicaris Affair, and ever since the murder has stamped its tiny feet, demanding that the United States immediately “punish” the Saudis for a crime committed on sovereign Saudi diplomatic territory in the Turkish capital. Part of this is phony professional solidarity based on the most generous possible interpretation of Khashoggi’s real occupation of Muslim Brotherhood activist and anti-regime agitator as that of “journalist.” The other is rather more complex.
Friends, Frenemies, and Enemies
In the media sandbox, the entire geopolitical situation must be judged by the ideological sympathies of the institutional players du jour.
During the Obama Administration, whose foreign-policy bureaucracy was staffed by the same kind of like-minded Ivy Leaguers who populate the leftist pundit class, it was natural for the media to root for the John Kerry-Samantha Power-John Brennan school of America Last, and in particular for the so-called Iran nuclear deal framework, which turned American policy decisively in favor of the Shiite Iranians over the Sunni Saudis. Never mind that Obama once publicly bowed to the Saudi “king”—our money, including pallets of cash, went where his heart was: Iran.
Never mind as well that Islamic Iran has been, since the hostage crisis of Jimmy Carter’s administration, an implacable foe whose people and leaders shout “Death to America” with soporific regularity. Under Obama, America tilted away from our traditional frenemies, the Saudis, toward an avowed enemy, and paid them for the privilege of giving them what they wanted.
Donald Trump’s perfectly sensible restoration of the U.S.-Saudi alliance, as morally odious as that alliance is (Saudis made up the bulk of the 9/11 hijackers, and yet you never heard the Left call for punishing the kingdom in 2001), represents not simply a return to the status quo ante, but an explicit rejection of  Barack Hussein Obama’s “legacy,” and thus must be fought against with the passion of the defeated segregationist South battling for the Lost Cause.
Enter, at last, the grownup in the romper room: secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who set the record straight regarding Democrats’ “caterwauling” over Khashoggi in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday:
Is it any coincidence that the people using the Khashoggi murder as a cudgel against President Trump’s Saudi Arabia policy are the same people who supported Barack Obama’s rapprochement with Iran—a regime that has killed thousands world-wide, including hundreds of Americans, and brutalizes its own people? Where was this echo chamber, where were these avatars of human rights, when Mr. Obama gave the mullahs pallets of cash to carry out their work as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism?
Saudi Arabia, like the U.S.—and unlike these critics—recognizes the immense threat the Islamic Republic of Iran poses to the world. Modern-day Iran is, in Henry Kissinger’s term, a cause, not a nation. Its objectives are to spread the Islamic revolution from Tehran to Damascus, to destroy Israel, and to subjugate anyone who refuses to submit, starting with the Iranian people. An emboldened Iran would spread even more death and destruction in the Middle East, spark a regional nuclear-arms race, threaten trade routes, and foment terrorism around the world… Abandoning or downgrading the U.S.-Saudi alliance would also do nothing to push Riyadh in a better direction at home.
As Pompeo knows, great-power politics are not to be subjected to the moralistic whims of the emotionally weakest members of the body politic. The modern Left, which has shorn itself of its do-gooder, midwestern Protestant origins and is now wholly godless, nevertheless still uses our founding religious scruples against us, in line with Alinsky’s famous Rule No. 4: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.” (The “Christian church” bit is a nice, characteristic and indicative cultural-Marxist touch.)
Time was all politicians understood this. Living in the tough neighborhood known as Planet Earth, all countries must eventually lie down with the devil, jungle up with some pretty ripe characters, and hope to muddle through with as much of their dignity as possible, but not one shred more if it defeats the larger objective. As we become increasingly infantilized, however, the idea that great political decisions often must be separable from domestic moral considerations becomes ever harder to explain.
“That’s not who we are,” sobs the Left as it gleefully indulges its reflexive anti-American nature. What they forget is that actions speak louder than words, and that it is in the best interests of the United States at the moment to pretend to like the Saudi “monarchy” even as we do our best to undermine it—“the crown prince has moved the country in a reformist direction, from allowing women to drive and attend sporting events, to curbing the religious police and calling for a return to moderate Islam,” wrote Pompeo, patting the Kingdom on the back for doing the very things that will help bring it down.
As Mikhail Gorbachev found out, glasnost led to perestroika which led to Christmas Day 1991, the day the Soviet Union vanished onto the ash heap of history. The death of Khashoggi is an internal Saudi affair, with some repercussions for its relationship with its other rival for Islamic supremacy, Turkey: it is, literally none of our business. And as all kindergarten teachers used to know, sometimes you have to kill the little monsters with kindness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Will ‘The Clinton Affair’ finally end the family’s stranglehold on the Democratic Party?

November 27, 2018
Image result for the clinton affair
If Bill Clinton — and, by extension, Hillary — get their true #MeToo reckoning, but the mainstream media largely ignores it, has it actually happened?
Last week, the A&E channel premiered a stunning six-part documentary produced by the estimable Alex Gibney and directed by Emmy winner Blair Foster. “The Clinton Affair” opens as Clinton’s own presidency did: hailed by women, the left and the media as the first ostensible feminist president, one who appointed Janet Reno as the nation’s first female attorney general, who made Ruth Bader Ginsburg the second woman in history to sit on the Supreme Court, and who made clear that his wife, for better or worse, would not be relegated to ceremonial duties but would lead the charge for health care reform.
Then came Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey.
Before going any further, let’s acknowledge the obvious: Our current president has been accused of sexual harassment by 22 women. He has cheated on his wives. He has been caught saying vile and indefensible things, and he too should be held to account. Yet the mainstream media’s excoriation of Donald Trump for these wrongdoings — some alleged, others acknowledged — exposes their hypocrisy when it comes to the Clintons: one standard for the guy whose politics are roundly despised, another for the liberal hero.
The Clintons have long been a drain on the Democrats, but somehow the party hasn’t the guts to deliver the message directly. Rather than hoping Bill and Hillary quietly go away — as if the couple hasn’t already telegraphed intentions to the contrary — the Dems need to have a true reckoning with the Clintons.
It begins with the women.
On May 6, 1994, Paula Jones filed a sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton, claiming that when Bill was governor of Arkansas, state troopers brought her to his hotel room under false pretenses. As she recounts in the documentary, once she was left alone with him, Clinton put his hand up her leg, dropped his pants and began fondling himself while asking her to “kiss it.”
All these years later, Jones cries while reliving this, as well as what the media did to her — an unsophisticated, untelegenic woman with a thick Southern accent, big hair and heavy makeup. Her story didn’t matter; her physical presentation did, and it was too easy for Clinton loyalists to dismiss her claims against the most powerful man in the world. Jay Leno depicted Jones as a troll-like hick in a “Tonight Show” sketch to great applause; post-#MeToo, that skit would have bombed if it ever made it to air. Nor today would a female CNN correspondent have the temerity to ask Jones this question: “Don’t you think this has created a huge embarrassment for the president of the United States?”
In other words: Go away, you troublesome gnat.
Jones was taken aback but, to her credit, would not be shamed. “He’s the one who did it to me,” Jones said. “Just because I’m coming forward like a woman should do when they’re done wrong — just because it’s the president, I guess I shouldn’t have done it?”
In November 1998, Clinton settled with Jones for $850,000. Part of the deal? Clinton wouldn’t have to apologize.
Eight months prior, a former White House volunteer aide named Kathleen Willey, a longtime friend of the Clintons, went on “60 Minutes” with her own claims of sexual assault. Having gone to the Oval Office to ask the president for help, Willey said he forced a kiss and exposed his penis. She, too, is in tears as she tells her story again for the documentary, and says the attendant media excoriation was another trauma. She and Jones, Willey says, were the first women to publicly hold a president to account for alleged sexual assault, and “we got absolutely hammered for it. Ruined. … It never leaves you.”
Monica Lewinsky, of course, is this narrative’s most famous character, and she comes across as sharp and self-aware. She knows she was the left’s fig leaf, the woman Clinton defenders could point to and say: This was an affair, yes, but it was consensual. What’s the big deal?
It was a narrative that even Lewinsky, 22 years old and still “in love” with Clinton, bought into, even as he left her — as his own lawyer admits in the doc — with “no protection.” Lewinsky tearfully admits she considered suicide, that she was overcome with terror and guilt, that she only later realized Clinton called her in for a Christmas tryst — their last, unbeknownst to her at the time — to make sure she’d keep their secret.
The release of the Starr Report coincided with the birth of the internet, and soon the whole world knew the granular details of what was really a cheap affair, the president of the United States using a worshipful 22-year-old for sex and tossing her aside. He denied her claims that they ever had sex as the media took up his cause.
Lewinsky became a national punchline, her last name slang for oral sex. All the great white male liberals of late night and elsewhere crucified her while depicting a problematic man with a track record as the real victim — even as his own White House smeared Lewinsky as an unstable slut and a stalker. And Hillary, according to many accounts, was an active participant in what came to be known internally as the “nuts-and-sluts” defense.
“Hillary Clinton’s been calling me a bimbo for 19 years,” Willey told the Washington Examiner in 2016, “as well as Paula and Juanita [Broaddrick] and [Bill’s former mistress] Gennifer [Flowers].”
Hillary has never acknowledged any of her husband’s misdeeds — aside from the Flowers affair, which she defended in order to preserve her husband’s presidential bid in 1992. She reportedly told a friend that Lewinsky was a “narcissistic looney-toon.” As the thinking in some quarters still goes, if the wronged wife ostensibly has no problem with her husband’s womanizing — or worse — why should we? Is it any wonder the media played along?
“I think Monica Lewinsky is the one who should apologize to America,” Bill Maher has said. Conan O’Brien joked on his show that Lewinsky would happily “give oral sex” instead of autographs. Michael Moore proclaimed that Lewinsky’s intent at the White House was always to get on her knees — what happened was solely her fault, not that of a sitting president who was decades her senior. As recently as 2005, Jon Stewart, who can do or say no wrong among his cohort, said this on “The Daily Show”: “Hurricane Katrina is George Bush’s Monica Lewinsky. The only difference … tens of thousands of people weren’t stranded in Monica Lewinsky’s vagina.”
“Devastating humiliation,” Lewinsky says of this time. “A whole other layer of just being burned.”
The documentary’s final episode centers on Broaddrick, who for decades has stuck by her accusation that in 1978, after being lured to Bill Clinton’s hotel room under false pretenses — notice a pattern? — Clinton, then attorney general of Arkansas, raped her. The details of Broaddrick’s account have never changed, the most damning that Clinton bit her on the lip so violently that she bled. Lip-biting is often a signature attack in sexual assault and rape: It restrains the victim and implies that if she doesn’t go along, her attacker will bite it clean off her face.
“He forces me down on the bed,” Broaddrick says in the documentary. Forty years later, she cries as she relives this. “I told him, ‘Please don’t … please stop.’ [But] he would press down on my right shoulder and bite me on my lip.”
Broaddrick went public in February 1999; it took NBC reporter Lisa Myers, who also speaks here, one year to convince Broaddrick to go on the record. And wouldn’t you know: When Myers came back with her scoop, NBC execs refused to air it.
“A lot of people wanted to kill the interview without even looking at it,” Myers says. It was only after the late Tim Russert fought hard for the piece to air, himself calling Broaddrick extremely credible, that the network caved. Even then, the interview was presented as an old and unprovable allegation.
And all these years on, incredibly, Clinton still has his defenders, among them well-educated liberal women who, one suspects, really do know better. Jill Abramson, former executive editor of the New York Times, appears in the documentary mainly to discredit these claims and these women.
“It’s hard to evaluate the truth of their stories,” Abramson says, “because the stories over time have become so polluted by politics.”
Really? Have they, really?
Broaddrick, a retired nurse, says she never planned to speak publicly again until one fateful day in November 2015, when presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took to Twitter.
“Every survivor of sexual assault,” Clinton wrote, “deserves to be heard, believed and supported.”
Broaddrick asked her grandson how to set up an account, and on Jan. 6, 2016, took to Twitter herself.
“I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Arkansas Attorney General, raped me and Hillary tried to silence me,” she wrote. “I am now 73 … it never goes away.”
After Broaddrick came forward, veteran White House correspondent Sam Donaldson put the question to Clinton plainly: If he hadn’t raped Broaddrick, “Can you not simply deny it, sir?”
Clinton refused, punting the question to his lawyer. Why wouldn’t someone accused of such a vicious crime proclaim their innocence? Pain and outrage, one would think, would be the natural response.
If the Democrats are smart, this documentary will be the end of the Clinton machine. It will be the tombstone for Hillary’s 2020 hopes. Hopefully, it will move much of the mainstream media to reassess what stories are told, how and by whom. It will provoke the most uncomfortable acknowledgment that the man the party has loved and deified for his public policies is, in fact, a man with no morals, no character and, most damningly, never to be believed.
Once Monica Lewinsky had been dispatched, once Clinton had survived the scandal and impeachment, he was asked the moral of his story. What lesson had he taken away?
“Every person must bear the consequences of his or her conduct,” Clinton said, having theatrically paused, ever pensive and thoughtful. “And when you make a mistake, you pay for it.”
He didn’t then. Maybe now.

What Is Saudi Arabia to Us?

November 27, 2018

Image result for Mohammed bin Salman
Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, attends a meeting at the United Nations in New York City, March 27, 2018. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP)

It seems that Saudi Arabia’s rulers murdered an opponent. The U.S. media and political class is shocked, shocked, to find that murder is going on in such precincts. Who did they imagine the Muslim world’s leaders are?

Moreover, our chattering class demands that President Trump do whatever it takes to make sure that they do nothing like that again. Do what? Does anyone really think that swapping sheik A for sheik B would improve their kind’s moral standards? Do they have any idea of what keeps A on top of B, what it would take to switch them, or what the repercussions would be in foreign policy? Are they naifs, idiots, or are they just playing with foreign policy to make life a little harder for Trump?
What follows is politically incorrect information on what Saudi Arabia is, what role it plays in American politics, and what it means for our foreign policy. Then, I will suggest how American foreign policy from the Founding to around 1910 would deal with today’s Middle East.
Saudi Arabia’s rulers are a subspecies of the desert rats endemic in the region. The ones on the cheese now are of the clan of seven sons out of old king Saud’s favorite wife, Suda, and hence are known as Sudaris. The previous ruler, Abdullah was the only son of another wife. When Abdullah’s birth-order turn came, in 2005, he took the throne thanks only to having mobilized the national guard of bedouins for war against the national army (and everything else) controlled by the Sudaris. Today, when you read about Mohammed bin Salman’s “anti-corruption reforms,” you should know that they target primarily Abdullah’s son and other relatives. In other words, what is going on, including murder, is a purely dynastic power play. But that is Saudi Arabia’s nice side.
The fundamental reality is that this is a slave society, (the Arabic word for black man is the word for slave) which considers work something that inferiors do for superiors, prizes idleness, and practices cruelty as a means of asserting superiority. Everyone knows that women, treated as property, end up disproportionately in the harems of the wealthy. But few stop to think that this custom dooms the majority of Saudi men to lives without legitimate sex, never mind families.
As for who gets what, that comes strictly either from birth or from connections with the powerful. Nor are the young clamoring for the kind of useful work that would lift them up. They compete, all right, but for favor. Saudi students in U.S colleges—and even in military training programs—just don’t do their work. A degree is a passport to a job which somebody else performs.
Religion? The ultra-puritanical Wahhabi sect, which authorized the House of Saud to take power by murdering non-Wahhabis, is inexorably interwoven with the Saudi power structure. No doubt, many believe its teachings. And yes, Wahhabis pay for radical mosques throughout the world, America very much included. But hypocritical corruption is at its core. Fly first class from Riyadh to Paris or London. Watch the women with Burqas step onto the plane. Off comes the headgear. On take-off, they doff the Burqas, revealing Dior fashions with plunging necklines. And the booze flows.
Saudi Arabia is marvelously well-connected in America—and especially in Washington D.C.—thanks to countless millions of dollars spread in all manner of ways to any and all who might be useful to the Kingdom over decades. Between 1983 and 2005, as Saudi ambassador to the United States, and then as secretary general of the Saudi National Security Council (where he managed the kingdom’s American affairs), Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud did not let pass any occasion to get to know and to invite and to gift. But vacations in Aspen or on the Riviera, and fellowships and connections, are small stuff compared to the billion-dollar bonds built with scores of American contractors and close friends of the very powerful. The Saudis have been able to get away with whatever they wanted.
In the aftermath of 9/11, not only did the U.S government fly Osama bin Laden’s family out of the country forthwith. It also flew out the Saudi consular officials who had helped the hijackers. Sections of the 9/11 commission report dealing with Saudi Arabia remain classified. Since the security camera photos of the 19 Saudi hijackers do not match the names on their passports, to this day, we still do not know their real identities. Nor has anyone investigated whence came the money for the operation.
Saudi foreign policy has been far from U.S.-friendly. Until around 1990, it might well have been described in one word: “pay.” Who? Anybody, to keep them from making trouble for the Kingdom. Thus the Saudis were the Syrian Assad regime’s main financiers. The money went to buy Soviet weapons. The same was true for Egypt prior to 1979, after which the money went to buy U.S. weapons. The Saudis paid most of the bill for Saddam Hussein’s war on Iran. And yes, they financed the PLO until, in 1990, both the PLO and Saddam turned against them—which led to firming up connections with the United States.
But those connections did not prevent the Saudis from playing a double game during the Iraq war—entirely understandable from the Saudi standpoint, but the acceptance of which by the U.S. establishment proved its abysmal incompetence. In short, the Saudis wanted above all to protect Iraq’s formerly ruling Sunni minority. That is why they lobbied hard and successfully to turn the successful U.S. invasion of March-April 2003 into the disastrous 2003-2010 U.S. occupation. Worse, during that occupation, the Saudis were the principal financiers of the Sunni war against U.S. forces, and the suppliers of most suicide bombers.
Today, the war between Saudi Arabia and Iran—effectively between the Muslim world’s Sunni and Shia blocs, is the great issue in the Middle East.
The Saudis rightly fear Iran. Make no mistake: Much as Iran rails against the Great Satan, (America) and the Little Satan (Israel), Saudi Arabia is its chief enemy. Whatever faults Iranian forces may have, whatever equipment they lack, they are still superior to the Saudis. Most important, the Saudis and their Sunni allies in the Gulf lord it over Shia minorities (in Bahrain they are the majority) who look to Iran for relief. The Shia in Saudi inhabit the oil producing regions. The Saudis know how vulnerable they are. The United States does not have to convince them to be anti-Iran. Since Iran is far more a danger to them than to us, they will always be more anti-Iran than we.
Nor do we have to treat them gingerly because they are the principal part of OPEC. In fact, the world oil price is now set largely by American production. Much as the Saudis would love to raise the price by cutting production, they know that maximizing their income requires pumping as much as they can at whatever the world price happens to be.
In short, we owe them nothing.
Our relationship with Saudi Arabia should flow from our own needs—not theirs—based on the realities of the region.
Were John Quincy Adams to whisper in Trump’s ear, he might well say the following: Just as in 1823, when we premised our dealings with Europe by making clear the contrast between the republican principles by which we live and those of monarchical Europe, we should now draw a bright line between our way of life and that of the likes of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Now as then, this is primarily for the American people’s benefit. Now as then, we cannot change others, but must deal with them. We don’t have to like them, and they don’t have to like us. Good diplomacy does not pretend. We will not lower ourselves to asking the Saudis to pretend they have become liberals, nor fool ourselves into thinking that they are on the way to doing so.
We have some concurrent interests. Only some. And for our own different reasons. And the concurrence is conditional.
There are certain things we can and should do for the Saudis, mainly by limiting Iran’s economy. But for us to do that, the price of oil has to be kept in an acceptable range for a range of allies. Hence we must demand that the Saudis cooperate. We can and should protect the Saudis against major Iranian military moves, especially by providing better missile defense. But we are not going to involve ourselves in trying to put down Shia revolts against Sunni hegemony. In Syria, we have only two interests: limiting Iran’s reach to Israel, and safeguarding the Kurds. Any Saudi action that we judge non-supportive of these interests will lead to reduction of our support in other areas.
Above all, we realize that Saudi Arabia is even less a permanent fixture of the international scene than the Soviet Union was. It is even more unstable. Stabilizing it, saving it from the consequences of its congenital dynastic wars, is beyond our capacities, as John Quincy Adams might have said. That is why now, as in 1823, the essence of good American foreign policy is to be very clear about our very few interests, to commit to those, and to let the rest of the world fight their own battles.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Real-World Consequences of Submitting to the Transgender Zeitgeist

By Ben Shapiro
November 27, 2018

Related image

Last week, a member of my Orthodox Jewish congregation approached me at synagogue to tell me a story. Many of the women in the congregation exercise at a females-only gym for modesty purposes. The gym is successful; its main constituency is religious women who don’t wish to be stared at by men, or to see men in various states of undress.

According to the congregation member, this month, a transgender woman — a biological male who suffers from gender dysphoria — came to the gym. This man, who retains his male biological characteristics, then entered the locker room and proceeded to disrobe. When told by management that he could use a private dressing room, he refused, announcing that he was a woman and could disrobe in front of all the other women.
The predictable result: Many of the actual biological women began cancelling their memberships. When the management asked people higher in the chain, they were simply told that to require the man to use a private dressing room or to reject his membership would subject the company to litigation and possible boycott. So the gym will simply have to lose its chief clientele because a man with a mental disorder believes he has the right to disrobe in front of women.
As it turns out, there are indeed public-policy consequences to the question of transgender pronouns. Those public-policy questions all revolve around a central issue: Can subjective perception trump objective observation? If the answer is yes, tyranny of the individual becomes the order of the day. We all must bow before the subjective wants, needs, and desires of people who require special protection from life’s realities. We must reeducate generations of people to ignore science in favor of feelings. We must strong-arm individuals into abandoning central planks of their morality in the name of sensitivity.
It’s not just women who wish to avoid indecent exposure. It’s doctors. Take, for example, a New York Times column this week by a transgender woman named Andrea Long Chu. The article, titled “My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy,” argues that “sex reassignment surgery” — a gross euphemism, given that sex is not “assigned” in the first place, except by biology — should be available to anyone based simply on want. Chu acknowledges that his new vagina is in fact not a vagina but a “wound” and that “it will require regular, painful attention to maintain.” Chu acknowledges that his dysphoria has “balloon[ed] since I began transition.” Chu admits, “I was not suicidal before hormones. Now I often am.” Still, Chu says, he should be given transgender surgery based simply on want. “Nonmaleficence is a principle violated in its very observation,” Chu states. “Its true purpose is not to shield patients from injury but to install the medical professional as a little king of someone else’s body.”
Meanwhile, Twitter announced this week that it would seek to ban those who “misgender” or “deadname” transgender people. In other words, if you note that Chelsea Manning or Caitlyn Jenner is a man, or if you use the names “Bradley” or “Bruce” with regard to the aforementioned transgender people, Twitter could ban you for “repeated and/or non-consensual slurs.” So you will abide by subjective self-definition, or you will be censored. Twitter recently banned a leftist feminist for merely noting that sex is biological and that men cannot become women.
It doesn’t stop there. As Walt Heyer of The Federalist reports, a Texas divorce case now pits a mother who dresses her six-year-old male child, James, as a girl and calls him “Luna” against James’s father, whom she is accusing of child abuse for refusing to treat James as a girl. Heyer reports, “She is also seeking to require him to pay for the child’s visits to a transgender-affirming therapist and transgender medical alterations, which may include hormonal sterilization starting at age eight.” James, as it turns out, prefers being called James and being treated as a boy by his father. That’s not stopping Mom. Refusing to abide by the judgment of a six-year-old — or in this case, a six-year-old’s mom — could mean losing your child in a world where we treat sex as malleable.
There are real-world consequences to the deliberate rewriting of basic biology, and the substitution of subjectivity for objectivity. It means rewriting business operation, school curricula, medical treatment standards, censorship rules, and even parenting. Sympathy for those who suffer from gender dysphoria is obviously proper — no one wants transgender people harmed or targeted. But sympathy for a mental disorder should not trump either objective reality or competing priorities based on those objective realities. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is not a story about the wonderful sensitivity of a population educated on the subjective desires of a ruler ensconced in sartorial self-definition. Falsehood crumbles in the light of day, no matter how sympathetic we are to those who wish to perpetuate it — unless force becomes the order of the day.

The Invaders and Their Allies

November 27, 2018
A group of migrants gather at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, as they try to pressure their way into the U.S.
A group of migrants gather at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, as they try to pressure their way into the U.S. | AP Photo
There is a war on for hearts and minds of Americans, and it began long before the first shots were fired on Sunday along the United States-Mexico border, when federal agents deployed tear gas against aggressive foreign nationals attempting to force their way into our country.
But the media coverage of the border skirmish is more telling of the nature of this conflict than canisters of lachrymator. There are three news clippings that might illustrate this point.
CNN, to start, placed scrambling Central American “families with young children” in the limelight of the clash, yet didn’t show those same people hurling large stones in the direction of American law enforcement, many of whom presumably have families with young children, too.
ABC News, on the other hand, didn’t mention at all that foreign nationals endangered federal agents. “Children were screaming and coughing in the mayhem” that, if one were to read nothing but ABC’s “The Latest,” would seem to have been induced spasmodically by trigger-happy Border Patrol—who, for what it’s worth, are mostly Latino.
The worst offender was perhaps the Associated Press. Making no mention of projectile attacks by foreign nationals directed at Americans, the AP quoted one Honduran to keep the narrative slanted favorably toward would-be illegal aliens. “We ran, but when you run the gas asphyxiates you more,” Ana Zuniga told the AP “while cradling her 3-year-old daughter Valery in her arms.”
What sort of mother would attempt to penetrate a heavily guarded border as part of a violent mob with a toddler in arm? Likely the same that lined up for paychecks from unknown benefactors along with their children in order to participate in this debacle. But who paid them is not so important as the fact that they accepted the payment, and some have since charged headlong against Mexican and now American law enforcement with their children by their side. Mercenaries, then, not “migrants” come our way. Are these the “family values” we want to import?
Under cover of media spin designed to tug at heartstrings, opportunistic outrage from progressives was as predictable as the clash itself.
In the lead up to this incident, progressive politicos and pundits were preoccupied with what they believed was President Trump’s inappropriate use of the word “invasion” to describe thousands of people marching toward our border, under the banner that they would “rather die fighting” than be denied entry to the United States.
Reports from the Mexican government, however, showed early on that Trump’s descriptor—that the Tijuaneros have since adopted—was not greatly exaggerated. “Fuera Invasores” (Out Invaders) hasn’t quite gotten under Anderson Cooper’s skin the way that the American version of the slogan did.
On October 28, Mexican Secretary of the Interior Alfonso Navarrete Prida said in a press release that the same people now hurling rocks at Border Patrol agents had “ripped” through barriers at the Guatemala-Mexico international border bridge in Ciudad Hidalgo. The “migrants” that CNN et al. have portrayed as harmless, according to Secretary Prida, forced their way into “our country” by attacking immigration personnel and Federal Police “with stones, firecrackers, glass bottles and rockets (another type of firework).”
But that’s not all.
Prida also noted that some “carried firearms” and others “Molotov cocktails.” In fact, two Hondurans, ages 17 and 22, were implicated in shooting at Mexican police officers, according to an October 29 Office for Domestic Affairs press release. The attackers were subdued when the shooter’s ultra-compact Glock 42 jammed.
Though no one was killed in that shooting, many Latin American police officers were injured as the caravan rolled toward our border. It’s also worth noting that these reports preceded the revelation that among the cavanners are felons deported from the United States for attempted murder.
Why, then, have progressives lied to us, and continue to lie to us, about the potential and real threats that these people pose to us?
Why do progressives continue to demonize our protectors as no different than the Ku Klux Klan, as Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has?
Worse yet, why have some conservatives taken up the progressive line on this? David French of National Review, for example, mocked Fox News guests for what he felt were “absurd claims about the diseases the migrants might bring to the U.S.” But are these concerns so absurd?
Consider that in 2016, Marin County, California’s Communicable Disease and Prevention Control found that 81 percent of the state’s 2,073 tuberculosis cases occurred in persons who were born outside the country. In fact, this is old news.
In 1984, Dr. Shirley Fannin, associate director of communicable disease programs for Los Angeles County, attributed the reversal of the decline of tuberculosis to immigrants who “bypass routine pre-immigration health checks and ‘literally bring the diseases with them,’” from the high endemic TB areas of Mexico, Central America, and Southeast Asia in particular.
Why, then, does French so callously write off valid concerns to join progressives on their denial-based ramparts? Do they not care about the wellness of legal immigrants who desired to leave Third World disease and violence behind them?
Why do progressives and their purportedly conservative allies lie, deflect, and obfuscate the truth?
Why do they do these things even though they might endanger us?
The answer is: it probably doesn’t matter as much our resolve does. If they demand that we believe them over our lying eyes, then all we can do is stop our ears against the siren songs of progressivism and stand our ground.
In the game of hearts and minds, wars can be won or lost before a shot is ever fired. Americans have as much a right to defend their land and their way of life as anyone else, and so it has become the singular task of progressives and their allies, through manipulation, misinformation, and political guilt tripping, to cow Americans into forgetting that fact.
If our resolve to stand tall on the border goes, so, too, will go our sovereignty.